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Show Your Heart Some Extra Love

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Show Your Heart Some Extra Love

Simple Ways to Support Your Cardiovascular Health

With love in the air this February, what better time than now to show this vital organ some extra love and care? The health experts at Antelope Valley Medical Center are here to share some tips to help you to look after your heart health this Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Stay Up-to-Date On Your Check-Ups

Although many people find themselves heading to their doctor’s office when there’s something wrong, having routine check-ups is important too. By having regular wellness exams, you help your healthcare team to monitor your health over time, making it easier to find abnormalities that may require special care.

With heart disease being the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, routine wellness exams are especially important when it comes to monitoring your cardiovascular health.

Physical Exam

During the physical portion of your check-up, it’s normal for your doctor to check your blood pressure and listen to your heart with a stethoscope. This helps to check for any causes for concern when it comes to your heart rate, blood pressure, or any other abnormalities.

Screenings

When it comes to cardiovascular disease, the earlier problems are detected, the more likely it is to find a successful course of treatment. It is recommended that adults get screened for the following cardiovascular health issues regularly:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Certain cancers

After diagnosis, your primary care doctor will be able to refer you out to a cardiologist who will then be able to advise on the best course of treatment.

Monitoring & Managing Health Risks

When it comes to developing cardiovascular health issues, there are certain factors that can increase your risk. By seeing your primary care physician regularly, they can monitor your health and advise you to make lifestyle changes to combat your individual risk.

Some key risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Age.
  • Being a male.
  • Family history.
  • Smoking and using tobacco products.
  • High cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Having diabetes.

Manage Your Stress Levels

Whether you’ve got a full-time job, you’re a student, or a stay-at-home parent—chances are, you’ve experienced heightened levels of stress at some point in your life. While this can be relatively normal and harmless, continuous exposure to your body’s stress response can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular health.

When your brain detects that you are in a stressful situation, your body releases stress hormones. When your stress levels persist, it’s harder for your body to return these hormone labels to a normal level. Subsequently, this leaves you at a higher risk for:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Heart disease.
  • Increased risk for cardiac events.

Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

One of the best ways to keep your stress levels under control is to have a set of healthy coping mechanisms that you can turn to. Some simple ways to help you to relax, unwind, and de-stress include:

  • Take a nature walk or hike.
  • Try meditation and yoga.
  • Practice journaling.
  • Listen to your favorite music.
  • Watch a movie or show you enjoy.
  • Confide in loved ones you can trust.
  • Take a social media hiatus.
  • Prioritize good quality rest.
  • Learn a new skill.
  • Find fun and interesting hobby.
  • Exercise.
  • Play with puzzles and board games.
  • Try progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Prioritize your wellbeing and set boundaries.
  • Spend time with friends and family.
  • Take a warm shower or bath.
  • Get a massage.

Avoid Sedentary Behaviors

While it’s perfectly normal to want to relax and unwind every now and then, spending too much time lounging around can be bad for your cardiovascular health. In fact, leading a sedentary lifestyle contributes to an increased risk of developing heart disease and experiencing a cardiac event.

For the average adult, it is recommended that you aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. While this number can seem like a large task, this is just setting aside 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week to get moving.

Many people think of lifting heavy weights or running on a treadmill when they think of leading an active lifestyle, but even just walking can yield a host of cardiovascular health benefits. Some ways that walking can help to support your heart health include:

  • Improving your circulation and blood flow.
  • Supporting a healthy body weight.
  • Strengthening your heart muscle.
  • Making your heart and lungs more efficient.
  • Reducing the risk of cardiac events.
  • Decreases stress levels.
  • Reduces inflammation in the body.

Build a Balanced Diet

While eating sweets and treats are fine in moderation, it is important to eat a balanced and nutritious diet to support your heart health. While this can seem like a complex task, making minor adjustments to your eating habits and grocery list can make a world of a difference.

Some easy tips to help you build a heart-healthy balanced diet include:

  • Opt for a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for each meal.
  • Try to make your plate as colorful as possible to ensure a variety of nutrients.
  • Cut back on eating out and having fast food.
  • Pay attention to the sodium (salt) in your diet.
  • Avoid added sugar in your foods and drinks.
  • Choose unsweetened juices and teas.
  • Cut our soda from your diet.
  • Choose whole grains when buying pasta, bread, and cereal.

Prioritize Getting Good Quality Rest

Another simple way to take better care of your cardiovascular health is to get good quality sleep each night. While many of us are guilty of sacrificing a few hours here and there, getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep can help to lower your risk of developing heart disease and reduce your risk of experiencing a cardiac event, like a heart attack or stroke!

If you still have questions or concerns about your heart health, be sure to reach out to your primary care doctor to discuss your options.

Specialty Care in Lancaster, CA

As the only full-service, acute-care hospital in Antelope Valley, Antelope Valley Medical Center is proud to deliver exceptional medical care to the community we serve. Our knowledgeable staff is dedicated to providing our patients with heartfelt, compassionate care and medical excellence.

Call (661) 949-5000 or visit our dedicated services page for more information about the offerings at AVMC.